French government moves forward with new mobile operator

Sapo opens laboratory at the University of Aveiro

The process of creating a fourth mobile operator in France is underway. The specifications have already been sent by the Minister of Finance to the Radio Communications Advisory Committee, which will now assess the conditions defined for the tender.

According to the document, the new French mobile operator is expected to commit to providing network coverage in 25 percent of the national territory, within two years after the start of activity. In the next eight years, it will have to extend this coverage to 80 percent of the population.

When it reaches 25 percent coverage, the new operator will be able to extend its service to more regions through commercial agreements with its competitors, which will allow it to use the respective infrastructures. It will also be able to fix its base stations on the structures already used by competitors.

The coverage commitments to which the new operator will have to comply are the same as those imposed on the three operators already in operation and which, in fact, the sectoral regulator considers have not been fully complied with. The license fee is also set at 619 million euros.

If the process proceeds as planned, the new license should be granted later this year or in early 2008. ARCEP, the body that regulates electronic communications in France, explains that the entry of a new player on the market will introduce more competition and better prices for the consumer.

In the French market, Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom already provide mobile communications services supported on their own network.

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